Tag Archives: outdoors

House By Tracks, a Hot Summer Afternoon

pastel painting of house by railroad tracks

House by Tracks, pastel © B. E. Kazmarski

Nothing captures the heat of a summer day for me more than a view of railroad tracks, gravel blazing in the relentless August sun, the empty tracks themselves seeming to magnify the silence of a summer afternoon. Add to that the lush trees with deep, welcoming shadows and a faded blue sky and that’s late summer for me, possibly because I often used railroad tracks as a shortcut when walking around in summer.

I also wanted to capture the brilliant highlights on the greenery, and the greenery itself aside from the trees, the scrubby, tough wildflowers that grow in the gravel along the railroad tracks.

framed painting

Framed view.

I will really digress here and mention that I always associate it with the short story from Stephen King’s anthology Different Seasons entitled “The Body”, which became the movie Stand By Me. I was past my childhood days of following railroad tracks to the next town, but when I read that story something clicked for me—as a writer. As I read I could feel the sun beat down on my head, hear the insects, see the tracks stretch out before me in the quivering mirages of summer heat as if I was walking those tracks again and I decided I wanted to do that too, to take people to the place I was in my imagination by writing about it. I had always dismissed the things I’d taken in through my senses as my own experience and which others wouldn’t be interested in. I realized that the descriptive terms that built an image of physical place for the reader are built on what we take in through our senses.

I’ve always been fascinated by houses that were right next to railroad tracks as well, wondering how people managed to live there in the days when trains screamed by and emitted tons of toxic pollution. It all tells a story of a time gone by extending into today. While this house reminds me of many I’ve seen along other railroad tracks, this house is right off of Main Street in Carnegie and is still occupied. I took a few hours on a Sunday afternoon in 2002 to paint it for our annual art exhibit, Carnegie Painted.

This painting is sold!

So glad this painting went home for Christmas 2014, to a person whose grandma lived in a house like this, such wonderful memories she shared of her siblings walking across town with their mother to her mother’s home for Sunday dinner, and a house that had not too long before only had an outhouse and no running water, though it did by the early 60s. We think of these things from long ago, but friends of mine from high school grew up in houses without running water, or electricity, or just plain old. Time to remember these things.

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House By Tracks, a Hot Summer Afternoon

pastel painting of house by railroad tracks

House by Tracks, pastel © B. E. Kazmarski

Nothing captures the heat of a summer day for me more than a view of railroad tracks, gravel blazing in the relentless August sun, the empty tracks themselves seeming to magnify the silence of a summer afternoon. Add to that the lush trees with deep, welcoming shadows and a faded blue sky and that’s late summer for me, possibly because I often used railroad tracks as a shortcut when walking around in summer.

I also wanted to capture the brilliant highlights on the greenery, and the greenery itself aside from the trees, the scrubby, tough wildflowers that grow in the gravel along the railroad tracks.

framed painting

Framed view.

I will really digress here and mention that I always associate it with the short story from Stephen King’s anthology Different Seasons entitled “The Body”, which became the movie Stand By Me. I was past my childhood days of following railroad tracks to the next town, but when I read that story something clicked for me—as a writer. As I read I could feel the sun beat down on my head, hear the insects, see the tracks stretch out before me in the quivering mirages of summer heat as if I was walking those tracks again and I decided I wanted to do that too, to take people to the place I was in my imagination by writing about it. I had always dismissed the things I’d taken in through my senses as my own experience and which others wouldn’t be interested in. I realized that the descriptive terms that built an image of physical place for the reader are built on what we take in through our senses.

I’ve always been fascinated by houses that were right next to railroad tracks as well, wondering how people managed to live there in the days when trains screamed by and emitted tons of toxic pollution. It all tells a story of a time gone by extending into today. While this house reminds me of many I’ve seen along other railroad tracks, this house is right off of Main Street in Carnegie and is still occupied. I took a few hours on a Sunday afternoon in 2002 to paint it for our annual art exhibit, Carnegie Painted.

This painting is sold!


Winter White

pastel painting of panhandle trail in winter

Panhandle Outbound, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

I love winter, and I don’t care who thinks I’m crazy.

I love the light, so much more of it with the leaves down from the trees and with the sun’s angle so much lower, more of it in the house and in the woods.

pastel painting of snow under trees

Morning Snow 2, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

I love the colors, from the subtle pastels of a snowy morning to the bold jewel tones and earth tones of brambles, branches, stems and tree trunks and leaves left behind in contrast to the snow on a bright afternoon.

And I love the minimal, stark beauty of branches etched against snow and sky during a snowfall. I go out and play in it, and paint and photograph it.

Several years ago I collected all my winter sketches and hosted an exhibit entitled “Winter White”, and my guests and I enjoyed the art so much that I set it up on my website, each painting with the information about where it came from.

pastel painting of blue jays in bare tree

Jammin Jay Blues, pastel © B. E. Kazmarski

These are all small sketches, none larger than 12″ x 12″, in pastel, watercolor, pencil and pen and ink nearly all done en plein air, sometimes on the trails, sometimes in my backyard, often standing on my deck or sitting in the front seat of the car when the temperature was near zero.

In many cases they are my experiments with materials and styles, preparing my own drawing surfaces and using papers I’d never used before, breaking my own boundaries of studio work to refresh my palette and visualization.

pastel painting of small cat at big window

Winter Window, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

I did my best to capture the essence of winter, and you’ll even see a few winter cats in here too.

I was greatly inspired by the book for an exhibit organized and shown in New York and San Francisco in 1999 entitled “Impressionists in Winter: Effets de Neige”. You can read about it on Artnet.com, or check your local library for the book from the exhibit. If you go there, find a painting called “The Magpie” by Claude Monet.

pastel painting of trees and snow

Solstice, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

“Solstice”, pastel, 6″ x 6″

This painting is indeed from the Winter Solstice about a decade ago. As the sun began to set on a zero-degree day with a foot or more of snow the light was so beautiful that I took off in my car with my camera and art supplies. At the top of the hill the gentle pink and coral tones of the sunset melded with the blue of dusk on the field of unbroken snow at the old Christmas tree farm, one of my favorite spots. It was too cold to draw outside since I can’t wear gloves and would soon be dropping my pastels in the snow, so I positioned my car on a convenient side road and sketched this in my front seat. As it does sometimes, the sun seemed to hang in the trees just before it disappeared: solstice, “sun-stand-still”. It’s just a little thing, 6″ x 6″, one of my favorites, especially now that the place is gone to development. It became the inspiration for an exhibit I hosted in 2004, “Winter White”.

pastel painting

“Winter Colors”, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

If you’re interested in any of the originals, you’ll see the available originals have prices listed and thumbnails to see them framed. I also have digital prints of of them, and because they are small they are available for $15.00 plus $5.00 in shipping. I also offer custom framing services. If you have any questions, please send me an e-mail. In the meantime, enjoy my views of winter! Visit Winter White.


House By Tracks, a Hot Summer Afternoon

pastel painting of house by railroad tracks

House by Tracks, pastel © B. E. Kazmarski

Nothing captures the heat of a summer day for me more than a view of railroad tracks, gravel blazing in the relentless August sun, the empty tracks themselves seeming to magnify the silence of a summer afternoon. Add to that the lush trees with deep, welcoming shadows and a faded blue sky and that’s late summer for me, possibly because I often used railroad tracks as a shortcut when walking around in summer.

I also wanted to capture the brilliant highlights on the greenery, and the greenery itself aside from the trees, the scrubby, tough wildflowers that grow in the gravel along the railroad tracks.

framed painting

Framed view.

I will really digress here and mention that I always associate it with the short story from Stephen King’s anthology Different Seasons entitled “The Body”, which became the movie Stand By Me. I was past my childhood days of following railroad tracks to the next town, but when I read that story something clicked for me—as a writer. As I read I could feel the sun beat down on my head, hear the insects, see the tracks stretch out before me in the quivering mirages of summer heat as if I was walking those tracks again and I decided I wanted to do that too, to take people to the place I was in my imagination by writing about it. I had always dismissed the things I’d taken in through my senses as my own experience and which others wouldn’t be interested in. I realized that the descriptive terms that built an image of physical place for the reader are built on what we take in through our senses.

I’ve always been fascinated by houses that were right next to railroad tracks as well, wondering how people managed to live there in the days when trains screamed by and emitted tons of toxic pollution. It all tells a story of a time gone by extending into today. While this house reminds me of many I’ve seen along other railroad tracks, this house is right off of Main Street in Carnegie and is still occupied. I took a few hours on a Sunday afternoon in 2002 to paint it for our annual art exhibit, Carnegie Painted.

frame corner for painting

Frame and mat.

This original pastel is painted on Wallis Sanded pastel paper, image size 9″ x 12″. I framed it in a custom moulding pine frame painted dark green with edges trimmed to natural wood, a 2-1/4″ acid-free natural white top mat and a 1/4″ acid-free forest green bottom mat. Finished framed size is 14″ x 17″. It’s in my shop on Etsy, so click on over and take a look.


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